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Re: Writing in the art room/good examples


Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 09:39:17 PDT

I wish that everything that I displayed was perfect, but it isn't: not the
writing or the art. I teach grades 3--5 in a Title I school in NC. Support
teachers are under the gun at my school to assist teachers in reaching school
goals and getting our students on grade level. I choose to support them in

I also work as a consultant teaching elementary teachers how to teach
writing. I stand by what I said about it being the language arts teachers job
to teach the skills, just as it is our job to teach art skills. I don't do
these activities all the time. I do some at each grade level to satisfy the
powers that be. Just as art is a process, so it writing. As skills in art
progress, one develops his/her personal style. As skills in writing progress,
one discovers his/her voice which gives the writing personality.

One of the last stages in the writing process is editing. Prewriting to
select a focus comes first, then drafting, then revising. These are areas
where students need a lot of practice and support in order to build fluency
as writers. I consider what students do in the art room as rough drafts and
clean them up as time allows. Many artists make a series of sketches,
refining as they go, to prepare themselves for some particular task they have
in mind. This is one of many parallels between art and writing. When I want
the writing perfect, I type it for them myself.

The issue for support teachers and teachers of other subjects is time: how
much you have, how much you want to spend this way. The organization and
correctness of thoughts regarding the subject matter assigned is more
important in writing across the curriculum. I always remind students about
mechanics which are good manners on paper. If you don't use capital letters,
periods, best handwriting, etc., the reader won't know when one thought stops
and another begins.